Eating in: the big dippers

Thursday, 4th February 2021 — By Tom Moggach

coriander chutney Eating in

Fresh coriander chutney

LET’S face it – life feels a little grey right now. And while mealtimes offer a welcome break from the monotony, many of us exhausted our repertoire of recipes a long time ago. Here are some easy dips and sauces to liven things up:

Fresh Coriander Chutney

Key ingredients: tomatoes, coriander, chilli.

You’ll need a blender for this but it’s dead easy. Start by blitzing two chopped tomatoes, then add a large handful of chopped coriander and blitz again. This green paste is the base for your chutney. At this stage, adjust the flavours – tasting as you go. I like to add a chilli, ginger, garlic, a pinch of sugar, a sprinkle of cumin seeds and squeeze of lemon or lime juice before pulsing again until smooth. Delicious with rice dishes and curries.

Tahini Sauce

Key ingredients: tahini.

This is culinary alchemy, as the tahini stiffens up alarmingly when you first add water then suddenly transforms into a versatile sauce. Start by icing some tap water: pop a few ice cubes to a cup of tap water to bring the temperature down. Next, scoop three tablespoons of tahini into a bowl. Gradually whisk in the cold water, a little at a time, until the sauce starts to loosen up. That’s it – season as you wish with salt, lemon juice and perhaps a touch of grated garlic. Lovely as a dip for raw vegetables, with grilled meats or drizzled on salads.

Yoghurt Sauces

Key ingredients: yoghurt (ideally full fat).

Yoghurt is the perfect vehicle for carrying flavours. For a spicy yoghurt, you could stir in harissa chilli paste or sriracha sauce. For a citrusy yoghurt, grate in lemon zest then stir in the juice and a little olive oil. To make a homemade raita, the cooling Indian sauce, add diced cucumber and mint. All yoghurt dips benefit from a pinch of salt.

Herb Butters

Key ingredients: butter, any herbs.

These are a favourite with chefs. First, allow the butter to soften at room temperature. Then mix in your choice of chopped herbs, adding salt and lemon juice to taste. Serve the butters over steamed vegetables, fish or meat. They also freeze beautifully: on a sheet of greaseproof paper, roll the butter into a cylinder, twisting each end like a cracker. Wrap again in cling film and freeze. Chop off portions when needed.

Sesame Dipping Sauce

Key ingredients: soy sauce, honey, ginger, sesame oil, sesame seeds.

Peel and grate a knob of ginger (a teaspoon works well to scrape off the skin). Add four tablespoons of soy sauce to a bowl then whisk in runny honey to taste. Stir in the grated ginger and add a few drops of sesame oil and (optional) chilli flakes. Taste and adjust with a little water and / or white vinegar. You can add a few sesame seeds just before serving for extra crunch. Perfect with prawns, spring rolls and dumplings.

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